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Insights

Vicarious liability is the principle of law which allows an employer to be held liable for the actions of its employees, even where there is no wrongdoing on the part of the employer itself. Generally speaking, employers have a degree of control over the actions of their employees, so it is thought to be justified that employers should be liable in such situations, provided there is a sufficiently close connection between the act of wrongdoing and the act(s) the employer actually instructed the employee to do.

The recent Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decision in the case of The Governing Body of Tywyn Primary School v Mr M Aplin considered the disciplinary process undertaken by a Primary School against a homosexual headmaster to be flawed, resulting in a finding of sexual orientation discrimination and constructive dismissal. The case serves as a timely reminder to employers that unreasonable behaviour without appropriate explanation, may give rise to a finding of unlawful discrimination through the application of the reverse burden of proof provisions in the Equality Act.

Welcome to A New Tax Year: 2019/2020 What You Need to Know

Have a read of our handy summary of everything you need to know about the changes coming in to play from 6 April 2019 and beyond.  Emma Boyle, our tax manager, and the private client team are on hand to guide you through how these changes may affect you and any planning that could be beneficial to optimise your tax position.

Private sector employers with more than 250 employees must publish their Gender Pay Gap Report by 4th April 2019. This is the second year of the operation of the new regime. With the deadline fast approaching, companies who made commitments to narrow the pay gap following the first round are called upon to evidence their progress through results.

Gender pay gap reports indicate the difference in average pay between men and women within an organisation and their publication aids comparisons across different sectors and industries. For a full explanation of the concept see previous Stronachs Insight:

New Government Consultation on Confidentiality Clauses

Following the report on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace by the House of Commons Women and Equalities Commission which we discussed in our Insight of last July, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has published a consultation on measures to prevent misuse of confidentiality clauses in situations of workplace harassment or discrimination. The consultation runs until the end of April and invites comments from interested parties on a number of proposals.

The recent Employment Tribunal decision in the case of Jolly v Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust has been in the news partly due to the fact that the Claimant (aged 86) is thought to be the oldest ever person to win an age discrimination case in the UK. The case is a stark reminder for employers of the dangers of allowing processes to be tainted by age related stereotyping.

Facts

Mrs Jolly worked for Berkshire NHS Trust as a medical secretary for a Consultant for many years (having commenced employment for the Trust’s predecessor when she was 61).

There appears to be continuing momentum behind moves to extend legal protections for women against pregnancy and maternity discrimination. This has been fuelled by a number of recent reports providing a basis for arguments that such discrimination, although clearly unlawful, is still prevalent in UK work places. In March 2016 research carried out by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) suggested that 77% of women responding to their survey reported negative experiences at work related to their pregnancy or maternity.

With increasing numbers of people engaged in more unconventional and innovative working arrangements and with individuals becoming more aware of their rights and entitlements, the difficulty in determining “employment status” has become a hot topic that continues to burn bright. As mentioned in our previous Insight, the Government are now proposing to improve clarity on employment status to make it easier to determine who is an “employee” and who is “worker” and what rights they are entitled to, by aligning this with the test for employment status in relation to taxation.

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